On the newest cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, model Halima Aden wears a burkini and a hijab. Making her the first Muslim-American model to front their pages, the issue is appropriately titled “Shattering Perceptions.”
“I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Halima said during her shoot. “So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya–I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.”
Halima started her non-binary beauty advocacy as a Minnesota teen as the semi-finalist and the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant – following a contract with IMG models and a successful career of top-tier fashion covers (i.e. British Vogue) and runway shows.
“The Somali-American model was born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, where she lived until the age of seven before moving to the United States. For her SI Swimsuit rookie spread, we couldn’t think of a more perfect place travel than her birth country, where she shot at Watamu Beach with photographer Yu Tsai.” – SI magazine
On her Instagram, she posted the editorial spread with a heartwarming message: “Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me.”
View this post on Instagram
Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings… can stand together and be celebrated. Thank you so much @si_swimsuit & the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity.